I began reading the Dresden Files; with Storm Front and Fool Moon a couple of years ago. I believe I may have read Storm Front around the time the television series premiered(I will always consider Dresden first as Paul Blackthorne, who played him in series. Also every time I watch him in the series, Arrow. I think of him as Dresden first. Sorry, Paul typecast in a one season flop.) But I could be wrong on that one. I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed. In fact, while I thought that they were descent enough books; even upon rereading them recently. I never really liked them all that much. I knew, of course, that the Dresden Files consisted of quite a number of books. I believe when I read Storm Front originally there were nine or ten. Now, there are fifteen. But a couple of months ago, I decided to read through the entire series from beginning to end. Because I was so excited by it.
I’m sure you’re wondering what happened that I decided to read the rest of the entire series in about three months(if you check my Goodreads profile, I believe that’s how long it took)? I read Grave Peril. That would be book three of the series and still one of my favorite books of the series. But hold on, it occurs to me that for people who haven’t read ANY of the Dresden Files; I’m jumping a bit ahead. Harry Dresden is a Wizard. He lives in a modern world that we would recognize. There are Burger Kings, Walmarts, the internet, etc… But there are also Faeries, demons, and gods masquerading as people. For some people they would recognize this as well, but for the rest of us we call it Urban Fantasy. Harry has a few friends that keep him from getting destroyed on a daily basis. One of his main best friends, is Karrin Murphy. She is a police detective who works with a paranormal unit that involves looking into stuff that the rest of the force doesn’t want to deal with. Kind of like the X-Files without the aliens. He has other friends, but unfortunately they are involved in the plot development to such a degree that describing them in any great detail could actually be spoiler filled. So, Harry takes on cases, he’s basically a Private Investigator. This situation evolves as the series goes on and things get pretty crazy. One of the things I love about the Dresden Files is how grounded in reality the series actually is. The police show up when gun shots are fired. When someone gets hurt there are consequences to their injuries. While these might seem like small things they work to make the series incredibly engrossing and believable. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend Storm Front or Fool Moon; except in saying that the books are good background for the rest of the series. But I ALSO wouldn’t recommend anyone starting reading the series at book three.
I have to say that the rest of the series is incredible. Every book in the series is either a four or five star review. So how does one recommend a 15 book series to someone with no experience in it? I was a little daunted by this question myself. I would have a hard time saying to someone, “Hey man, read the first four books or so; by the time book four is over you’ll be hooked.”
Not because I don’t believe exactly that, but rather that’s around 1,200 pages. To most folks that’s a lot of reading to do. So I will let you in on the secret sauce that makes Dresden Files so awesome; but if this is just too much for you. I certainly understand, and IF you decide you want to start at book three; I’ll understand. But if you don’t get as much out of the series as you should. Don’t blame me, I warned you.
I have to say that the series goes in some incredible directions and that each book is a very fast read. Even some of the longer ones… The books have a great deal of explanation built into everyone of them about events or characters that are pertinent to the understanding of the book. However, having the author give you a quick summary of events is very different from actually reading those events and getting an understanding for the characters that went through them. That is why I suggest reading every book in order. I’m not normally into Urban Fantasy as a genre. Generally, Urban Fantasy to me has always seemed like a lazy way of reducing the learning curve for readers. Which would be fine, except that so often the stories fall into some really generic and predictable tropes. But the Dresden Files is, in my opinion, a high cut above all the rest of the Urban Fantasy out there. Not only in the way that typical material is handled in an excellent way. But also, in the depth of the characters and complexity of their relationships. While some of the elements of the Dresden Files could definitely be seen as tropey or even typical of the genre. What Jim Butcher does with these elements is neither typical nor tropey.
While the Dresden Files might not be for everyone, I certainly have to say that they are for a lot more people than perhaps the general opinion about the books expresses. I think that most readers of fantasy will be overjoyed at how different and interesting the characters and world of the Dresden Files is. While I cannot recommend this series enough, I have to say that it is quite an investment on the part of the reader. However, I love this series SO MUCH that I really couldn’t miss this opportunity to tell everyone how I feel about the series. I will say that once you get into the series, you will not regret it.